The East India Company had been trading regularly with the Chinese since the early 1700s, shipping increasing amounts of tea back to Britain. By the end of the century tea accounted for more than 60 percent of the Company's total trade. The demand for tea amongst the British public boomed.
Throughout the 18th century there were numerous debates over Britain's new tea craze. Many believed that tea had medicinal properties, while others warned against the cost of such a frivolous luxury. The author of 'The Good and Bad Effects of Tea Consider'd' follows both lines of thought: on the one hand tea consumed without milk or sugar could act as a medicinal remedy; on the other hand, tea was an expensive 'evil' in which poor families could not afford to indulge.
East India Office Trading Documents
The East India Company and its trading activities provide a fascinating backdrop for many accounts of shipwrecks and smuggling. This selection of documents from the British Library's India Office gives a flavour of the great range of ephemeral texts involved in the many aspects of international trade. In particular we can see how goods from